I do some of my best thinking when I’m pushing 80 MPH on my Harley Sportster down Interstate 95 in Miami most weekday mornings. Today as I switched gears and changed lanes between two family-sized SUVs, the thought of friendship between men and women crept up into my head. The age-old question of “Can men and women truly just be friends?” has been a bubbling topic for decades. And since the notion of “false” friendship was first introduced and popularized by romantic comedy classic When Harry Met Sally in the late eighties, I don’t think the answer has changed much since. The answer is simply no.
Men and women cannot be just friends. We never really could be. Men’s hardwiring is completely different from that of women, and surprisingly enough I blame men more than I do women for continuing the notion of true male/female friendship.
When a woman meets a man in a beginning of a platonic relationship and she says she wants this guy to solely be her friend, I believe she is being 100% GENUINE in that claim. There is never any ulterior motive on her part. She isn’t motivated to do anything other than be his friend. But when you ask any straight man that has an attractive homegirl in his life if his intentions were just to be friends with her when they first met, chances are that he saw his now “female friend” as a sexual object when they first began getting to know each other. But because he never made a move, or she shot down his sexual advances, or because of a number of unforeseen events (like she had a boyfriend at the time), he eventually settled for her friendship. Now maybe my rationale and thinking are a bit archaic when it comes to how I perceive these situations, but I know how the male brain works. As famed comedian Patrice O’Neal once said, “Our [men] friendship is our love.” This is what gets in the way of a guy and a girl truly remaining platonic in the course of their friendship.
Men can’t help but fall in love with a woman they spend continued intimate time with. His programming forces him to start to consider his “friend” as a possible mate because in his head, why else would this girl spend all this time with him unless she was also secretly in love with him? Wrong. That’s not how women think. The more a woman spends time with a man she isn’t having sex with, the more of a friend he becomes to her. The opposite is unfortunately true for men. The more time a man spends with a woman whom he isn’t sleeping with, the more he wants to have sex with her. It’s a sad reality whether all of us want to admit to it or not.
I know plenty of men and women out there who will read this and say this applies to their friendship. That they are truly the best of friends and the man in the situation has never thought about bending his female friend over backwards and banging her brains out. As with anything in life, there is always an exception to the rule. Sure, there are guys out there who have female friends in their lives, but they are usually the type of men who date multiple women at the same time. Remember this—the exception to the rule only re-solidifies the rule in the first place. An attractive heterosexual man (especially if he is single) cannot be “just friends” with an attractive heterosexual woman. It doesn’t work in the long run. It’s bound to end badly. If the feelings he is secretly harboring for her ever surface, it will end their horseshit friendship. Sometimes, the truth has a funny way of sucking.